Sundown (Gordon Lightfoot song)

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Single by Gordon Lightfoot
from the album Sundown
B-side "Too Late for Prayin'"
Released March 25, 1974
Format 7" 45 RPM
Genre Folk rock, country rock
Length 3:37
Label Reprise
Songwriter(s) Gordon Lightfoot
Producer(s) Lenny Waronker
Gordon Lightfoot singles chronology
"Can't Depend on Love"
"Carefree Highway"
"Can't Depend on Love"
"Carefree Highway"

"Sundown" is a song by Canadian folk artist Gordon Lightfoot, from the eponymous album, released as a single in March 1974.

"Sundown" reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and easy listening charts[1] and No. 13 on the Hot Country singles chart,[2] as well as No. 1 in Canada on RPM's national singles chart. It was Lightfoot's only single to reach No. 1 on the Hot 100.


The song's lyrics seem to describe a troubled romantic relationship, with the narrator recounting an affair with a "hard-loving woman [who's] got me feeling mean".

There are rumours that "Sundown" was inspired by Lightfoot's then girlfriend, Cathy Smith, later more infamously known for her involvement in the 1982 drug-related death of actor John Belushi. Lightfoot has commented in interviews that Smith was "the one woman in my life who most hurt me".[citation needed]

Chart performance[edit]

Preceded by
"Band on the Run" by Paul McCartney & Wings
Canadian RPM 100 number-one single
June 15, 1974 – June 29, 1974 (three weeks)
Succeeded by
"Billy Don't Be a Hero" by Bo Donaldson and The Heywoods
Preceded by
"Billy Don't Be a Hero" by Bo Donaldson and The Heywoods
US Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
June 29, 1974 (one week)
Succeeded by
"Rock the Boat" by The Hues Corporation

Other versions[edit]

  • The musical project/collaboration of singer-songwriters Elwood covered the song in 2000. This version peaked (July 8, 2000) at #33 on Billboard's "Modern Rock Tracks' chart.[9]
  • American country music singer Deryl Dodd's version of the song peaked at #59 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart in 1999. It was later included on his album, Pearl Snaps (2002).
  • American-Canadian country artist Jesse Winchester covered this on Beautiful: A Tribute to Gordon Lightfoot (2003)
  • Country singer Toby Keith included a live cover version on the deluxe edition of his album Bullets in the Gun (2010).
  • Canadian rock musician Luke Doucet covered it on the album Steel City Trawler (2010).
  • French singing duo Marie-Ève Janvier and Jean-François Breau covered the song in French as "L'amour c'est comme l'été", on the compilation album Quand le country dit bonjour... (2012).
  • Ed Kuepper covered the song, including it on his greatest hits album


Engineered by Lee Herschberg
Recorded at Eastern Sound Studios, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

  • Gordon Lightfoot: Vocal, 12-string guitar
  • John Stockfish: Bass
  • Red Shea: Lead electric guitar
  • Terry Clements: Lead acoustic guitar
  • Jim Gordon: Drums

In other media[edit]

  • "Sundown" is the ending song of The Blacklist season 1, episode 13: "The Cyprus Agency (No. 64)" (January 27, 2014).[10]
  • The song entered the Amazon UK chart at number 97 on 18 March 2014, after The Blacklist episode, "The Cypress Agency (No. 64)" was shown on UK television.[citation needed]
  • "Sundown" is featured after the opening credits of Supernatural Season 10, Episode 5 "Fan Fiction" (November 11, 2014).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits: Eighth Edition. Record Research. p. 368. 
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 201. 
  3. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  4. ^ "Top 40". Retrieved 2016-10-10. 
  5. ^ "flavour of new zealand - search listener". Retrieved 2016-10-10. 
  6. ^ "Australian Chart Book". Retrieved 2016-10-10. 
  7. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-10-10. 
  8. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1974/Top 100 Songs of 1974". Retrieved 2016-10-10. 
  9. ^ "Elwood - Chart history". Billboard. 2000-07-08. Retrieved 2016-10-10. 
  10. ^ "Soundtrack". IMDb. 

External links[edit]